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COMMERCIAL LASNAMÄE


After the fall of the Soviet Union,
commercial shops in the basements of
multi-story buildings started to
appear in Estonia. In Tallinn, they
were most likely to be found in the
Lasnamäe district. In the 90′s, the
choice was between going to the
“basement” or to the market. In XXI,
commercial shops started to be
displaced by super markets and
department stores that provided
more variety, cheaper prices and
better service.

This project documents echoes of the
era in which everyone was trying to
build their small business.
Entrepreneurs earned money from the
shop and apartment associations
benefitted by the rent paid to them
by the shop owners. Commercial
basements are still distinctive
features of the Lasnamäe district.
Passers are greeted with massive
doors and signs with very clear key
messages: groceries, cheap clothing,
hairdressing salon, household goods,
shoemaker, family doctor, repair of
equipment, tailor. Together, they
create a special and unique flavor
of the area, subtly reflecting the
realities of that time.